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MANZINI – For some civil servants, being wrongly graded came at a cost in excess of E700 000.  

Last week, government reimbursed 1 600 public service employees for being wrongly graded in 2016. The civil servants were placed under new grades for their remuneration and received a back pay, which was backdated to April 1, 2022. However, the difference between the back pay and the money the public service employees should have been earning since 2016 is huge. The remuneration structure of the deputy director in the Social Welfare Department, under the office of the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), was reviewed from D5 to E4.
It was re-graded due to the scope of work, job content and supervisory function, while that of the coordinator of in-service training under the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) was an effort to correct the reporting relationship with heads of department (HoDs). In the four years (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2022), the deputy director earned E20 786.83 before tax under grade D5 Notch 1, instead of E33 813.42 under grade E4 Notch 1. The difference between the two grades is E13 026.58 and in the four years, the civil servant had a shortfall approximated to exceed E625 276.16. There is also an additional E161 008.92, which emanates from the difference between the two grades.

The above difference was derived from the implementation of three per cent cost-of-living (CoLA) in 2021, which resulted in grade D5 earning a monthly salary of E21 410.42, while grade E4 increased to E34 827.83. This equates to a monthly difference of E13 417.41 between the two grades. Furthermore, in 2022, another three per cent CoLA was implemented, which reviewed grade D5 to E22 052.73, while grade E4 increased to a monthly salary of E35 872.67. The difference between the two grades is E13 819.94.


However, government issued Establishment Circular No.1 of 2023; Implementation of the Salary Review Appeals Exercise. It stated that they should be paid the difference of the salary as of April 1, 2022. This equated 11 months and officers whose grades were reviewed from D5 to E4 received E152 019.34 as back pay. This increases the amount the civil servants under this grade missed out onto over E786 285.08 in the said years. The pairs’ re-grading of their positions formed part of 145 appeals that were tabled to government, seeking that they should be corrected as the personnel in certain grades were made worse off than their previous remuneration. In addressing this, most of the positions were re-graded to higher grades, with the aforementioned pair grossing a higher amount. Also, among the civil servants who were not graded accordingly during the 2016 salary review exercise is the deputy director of public prosecutions (DPP). This position was graded to E5.

This means from April 1, 2016 until April 1, 2020, the officer was remunerated E38 743.83 per month. This calculation is based on the assumption that the officer was on grade E5, Notch 1, which in this period had an annual salary of E464 926. During the four years, the civil servant had a shortfall of E8 726.67 per month on their salary. This is because the grade of F3, which they should have been allocated since April 1, 2016, had a monthly salary of E47 470.50 before the aforementioned date until 2021. This difference when calculated for the 48 months tallies E418 880.16 as the amount they were not remunerated. In 2021, government awarded civil servants a three per cent CoLA. This increased the salary of the deputy DPP to E39 906.17 on grade E5 Notch 1, while it hiked grade F3 to E 48 894.58 per month. During these 12 months, the officer missed out on E107 860.96. Also, in the subsequent year, another three per cent CoLA was implemented, which increased the E5 grade remuneration to E41 103.36, while a civil servant in grade F3, started earning E50 361.42. In these 12 months, the civil servant missed out on E111 096.72 as he or she could have received an additional E9 258.06 per month.


However, given that the new Establishment Circular No.1 of 2023; Implementation of the Salary Review Appeals Exercise states that they should be remunerated the difference of their salary dating back to April 1, 2021, they received E101 838.66. In essence, in the past six years, the civil servant could have amassed E526 741.12. This amount excludes the two once-off of one per cent of their annual salary awarded with the CoLA in the aforementioned instances. It also did not factor in the upward review of their remuneration based on notching, which is applied every year until the employee reaches the last notch of that grade. On the other hand, a civil servant working as a clerk of court or interpreter was graded B5 during the salary review. Using the similar method of setting the grade at Notch 1,  it means the employee in the four years (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2020) had a monthly remuneration of E8 824.25 while he/she had been graded C3, the civil servant would have been earning E9 626.67 monthly. The difference between the two scales is E802.42 monthly and in the four years it amounted to E38 516.16. In addition to this shortfall, during the 2021 CoLA award, the public service employee had the B5 Notch 1 scale increased to E9 089 while grade C3 hiked to E9 915.50.

This has a difference of E826.50, which in 12 months equates E9 091.5. Furthermore, in 2022, another three per cent CoLA further widened the difference in their remuneration as it increased the B 5 Notch 1 salary to E9 361.67, while grade C3 Notch 1 was hiked to E10 212.96. The difference between the two grades is E851.29 per month. In total, this means civil servants who were re-graded to C3 from B5 could have received a back pay of E9 364.19. They could have earned E49 285.45 between 2016 and March 31, 2022. Officers who are in these grades and their positions were re-graded included cooperative officers and cooperative auditors under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade.


Their positions were said to have been reviewed due to the scope of work and nature of their jobs. Also, in this grade were labour inspectors, assistant human resources officers, and estate accounts examiner, clerk of court/interpreter and estate officer. It is worth noting that the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, in his budget speech, announced that E65 million was reserved for civil servants salary appeals. This was a E20 million decline from the previous allocation, which was announced in 2021.

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